Liverpool may have to admit defeat in their summer pursuit of Naby Keita and Timo Werner after RB Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff declared that it would "irresponsible" for the club to allow any of their top players to leave before a maiden foray into the Champions League.

That aforementioned young duo were both influential in guiding unfashionable Leipzig to a second-place finish in their first ever season in the Bundesliga. Guinea midfielder Keita made 32 appearances across all competitions while Werner, currently on international duty with Germany at the Confederations Cup, notched 21 goals to finish behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Robert Lewandowski and Anthony Modeste as the league's fourth-highest scorer.

Both players have been routinely linked with Liverpool over recent weeks, while highly-rated Sweden winger Emil Forsberg has also been mentioned in connection with the Reds in addition to a range of other potential suitors including the likes of Arsenal, AC Milan and Bayern Munich.

However, Mintzlaff remains adamant that no key performers will be sold.

"It would be irresponsible to let one of our top performers leave now," he told Bild. "Emil and Naby are extremely talented and promising players.

"We are glad that we, as a club, are aiding their development and will now be able to prove ourselves in the Champions League. There are no concrete offers. But of course, the guys have attracted great interest through their performances. That's normal, but we aren't dealing with that."

Liverpool, on the verge of completing a £34m deal to sign former Chelsea winger Mohamed Salah from AS Roma, were dealt an initial blow in this particular transfer race earlier this week when Uefa announced that both RB Leipzig and Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg could play in the Champions League after ruling that the article of the competition regulations concerning integrity would not be breached.

Naby Keita
Jurgen Klopp is believed to be keen on signing RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita

The Adjudicatory Chamber of the Uefa Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) deemed that, following a thorough investigation and structural changes made by the two clubs, "no individual or legal entity had anymore a decisive influence over more than one club participating in a Uefa club competition".

Uefa do not allow two clubs with the same owner to compete in European competition. Had Leipzig been barred from entering the Champions League, they would surely have found it far tougher to keep hold of those prized assets.